← Back to Search Results
preserving French, Provence
Tuna Confit with Green Beans and Shell Beans Recipe-4424

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


We make this “preserved” tuna in much the same way we would a duck confit, salting it ahead and stewing it slowly in flavorful oil. It is perfect for dishes like this simple provençal salad; it also makes a great pasta with the very same ingredients. We frequently embellish the salad with hard-cooked egg, a few cherry tomatoes, strips of roasted pepper, or rocket leaves, depending on what the season has to offer and the whims of the cooks.

Yield: Serves 6 as a first course


  • Salt
  • 1 pound tuna steak, cut 1½ inch thick
  • Thyme branches
  • Garlic cloves, crushed but not peeled
  • Fennel seeds
  • Dried chili pepper pods
  • Peppercorns
  • 3 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound (unshelled) fresh shell beans (preferably cranberry beans)
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1 medium shallot, diced fine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup Aïoli


Salt the tuna generously and put it in a deep bowl with the thyme, garlic, fennel seeds, chili pods, and peppercorns. Use your own intuition for amounts of these ingredients. Cover with 3 cups of olive oil and refrigerate for several hours, or preferably overnight.

To cook, transfer everything to a heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot and heat slowly over medium heat. When the oil is warm, lower the heat and continue cooking for 12 to 15 minutes, turning the fish over occasionally for even heating. Probe the tuna with a paring knife to check for doneness—it should still be slightly pink at the center. Remove the tuna from the oil and cool, reserving the oil. It is now ready to eat, or it can be refrigerated in the oil and stored for up to 5 days.

Remove the shell beans from their pods and simmer the beans in enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add a little salt, a thyme branch, and a splash of olive oil, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Let the beans cool in their cooking liquid. The shell beans can be cooked several hours in advance and kept at room temperature.

Top and tail the green beans and parboil in rapidly boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and spread on a baking sheet to cool.

Make a vinaigrette in a small bowl with the diced shallot, red wine vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in ½ cup of the confit oil and add freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt and vinegar, if necessary.

Drain the shell beans and toss with the green beans in the vinaigrette. Arrange on a platter with the tuna, broken into pieces, over the top. Serve with aioli alongside, or thin the sauce with a little water and drizzle it over everything.

© 1999 Alice L. Waters

Note from Cookstr's Editors

Nutritional information includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving, but does not include Aioli. For nutritional information on Aioli, please follow the link above.


Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

584kcal (29%)
130mg (13%)
9mg (16%)
523mcg RAE (17%)
29mg (10%)
330mg (14%)
4g (22%)
27g (42%)
5mg (30%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
Free Activity Kit for Love Monster and the Last Chocolate!

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

the-mozza-cookbook The Mozza Cookbook
by Nancy Silverton
nancy-silvertons-sandwich-book Nancy Silverton's Sandwich ...
by Nancy Silverton
fresh-from-the-market Fresh from the Market
by Laurent Tourondel
chez-panisse-fruit Chez Panisse Fruit
by Alice Waters
food-to-live-by Food to Live By
by Myra Goodman
ham-an-obsession-with-the-hindquarter Ham: An Obsession with the ...
by Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough
david-rosengarten-entertains-fabulous-parties-for-food-lovers David Rosengarten Entertain...
by David Rosengarten
rice Rice
by Bonnie Tandy Leblang, Joanne Lamb Hayes
bistro-cooking-at-home-more-than-150-classic-and-contemporary-dishes Bistro Cooking at Home: Mor...
by Gordon Hamersley
a-new-way-to-cook A New Way to Cook
by Sally Schneider
parents-need-to-eat-too Parents Need to Eat Too
by Debbie Koenig

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?